Health benefits of meditation and mindfulness

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While, as pharmacy assistants, you’re great at taking care of your customers when they need it, you shouldn’t forget about your own health, especially your mental and emotional health during these unprecedented times.

So, how would mediation and mindfulness come into play in helping our healthcare heroes?

Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Master Certified Coach for physicians, Dr Gail Gazelle MD, shares some of the many benefits of meditation and mindfulness that can help healthcare workers.

Dr Gazelle says that while the life of a healthcare worker can often be “full of stress”, it’s important to learn “how to manage it”.

“In addition to all the busyness of our days, we tend to have particularly busy minds, full of worries and concerns,” continues Dr Gazelle, adding that there is where mindfulness and meditation can help.

“Mindfulness provides the exact tools we need to manage all the stress, quieting the busy physician mind, and bringing calm to even the busiest and most challenging day,” says Dr Gazelle.

Benefits of a mindful practice 

Meditation builds calmness
Dr Gazelle says that the life of a healthcare professional can be full of stress. “To survive their careers, [healthcare professionals] need tools to build moments of calm into their day. Mindfulness teaches us how to do this in an effective and meaningful way that helps cultivate not just calmness and quiet in the mind, but gratitude and joy as well,” says Dr Gazelle.

Meditation builds focus
“We learn next to nothing in medical training about how to focus,” says Dr Gazelle. “A physician’s day is typically full of distractions: abnormal lab results, patients calling with urgent problems, callbacks from a specialist. Even brief periods of meditation build the physician’s ability to hold their attention exactly where they want and need it to be.”

Meditation builds positivity
“The public may find it surprising just how much [healthcare professionals] criticise themselves,” says Dr Gazelle. “Comparing themselves to other [healthcare professionals] and looking at how they are coming up short, believing they are an imposter, and focusing on what’s going wrong and not what they’ve done well. With mindfulness and meditation practices, physicians build their ability to focus on all the good they do, each and every day, and learn to let go of that inner self-critic.”

Mindfulness builds resilience
Dr Gazelle says that doctors and other healthcare professionals may get “worn down by all the sickness they see, all the responsibility they bear, and the very long hours they have to work”.

“This is even more true now, during the pandemic,” continues Dr Gazelle. “Mindfulness helps physicians build resilience to all the demands and difficulties of their careers, making them more agile, capable, and even more compassionate to their colleagues and patients.”

Mindfulness builds mastery over their mind
“Physicians are experts in identifying and treating all kinds of diseases. But their minds are a busy place, full of worries, fears, anxieties, and more,” says Dr Gazelle. “With mindfulness, physicians learn how to work with their mind, developing the same mastery an expert surgeon has every time she or he operates on a complex case.”